“Mekons fight off the darkness with stout hearts and great songs on Exquisite…Recorded remotely during the pandemic, the eternally enduring post-punk crew’s latest is a fine addition to their enormous catalog…We’re living through history; it’s a blessing to have Mekons along for the ride.”
– Rolling Stone
“Mekons balance digital distortion with sonic tips of the hat to Tex-Mex rock, spaghetti-Western soundtracks and Black Ark dub. Chaotic and astute, Exquisite is a vivid screenshot of the time in which it’s been made.” – Magnet
“Exquisite is jolly good; like a one-disc Sandinista! — rough-hewn, stylistically and culturally diverse, uplifting in spirit and wittily weird (or is that weirdly witty).” – Trouser Press
Hunkered down and unable to record together, in 2020 the MEKONS created a glorious digital chain letter of an album. Exquisite is a sprawling manifesto of connection and defiance that deftly slides through fiddle tunes, digi-dub, fireside ballads and urgent rock & roll. And that’s just side A.
The original recording plan was to have been the whole-band-in-a-room session in Valencia, Spain. When the pandemic rendered that impossible the process took a sharp swerve. The album credits describe it this way:
‘Exquisite’ was recorded in lockdown on mobile phones, broken cassette recorders, clay tablets & other ancient technologies in Aptos, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York & Devon.
This legendary group from Leeds, have written contemporary music history for the last 40 years as radical innovators of both first generation punk and insurgent roots music, and Exquisite is another powerful vector of that legacy.
First released as a digital-only album via Bandcamp in June 2020, Glitterbeat is very
pleased to announce (at last) the release of the Exquisite LP version.
In Paris, in 1925, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp invented a game they called ‘cadavre exquis,’ derived from a phrase that came up when they first played: 'le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau' ('the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine'). Basically each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.
During the plague years of the early 21st Century, the mekons adopted this method as a means of collectively assembling lyrics and tunes and recording their new albums.
Scattered in various locations from the West Coast of California to the East End of London, they sang and played into their mobile phones and emailed, uploaded and messaged their wailings, beatings, scratchings and strummings around the globe through the billions of interconnected nodes of our networked panopticon. Mike Hagler assembles the results in Chicago and sends them to be mixed by The Baron at Chateau Trumfio.
While the world goes hyper-speed to NetNever avidly acting out the crazy jags of meltdown capitalism electrified dancing corpses and waves of virus plunge into burning oil seas of ancient systemic racism ravaging and squawking out of this nightmare sleep of reason, come chlorinated chickens home to roost in nests of hypocrisy, impunity and conspiracy.
We put on our goggles and look to the Madderworse, scanning our eyes towards the acid horizon of annihilation, take virtual joy if you can. And, well, you just might be tired from having to take to the streets: what better time to settle down with a fancy cocktail of medical drugs and dig the mekons’ new surrealist sounds?
Colin Stewart / Bridlington
released January 14, 2022
Baron Von Munchio: sub-sonics & other electronics
Comteboy de Langreamont: vocals, guitar, title, keyboards, u-bass & percussion
Honeyman Ray: violin
Luanora Carrington (ex-Lubu Roi): ud, saz & cumbus
The Marquis Tomato de Ironingboard: vocals, Spanish guitar & outoftune piano
Ricmedios Bellvaro: vocals, accordion & keyboards
Sallyvador Dolly: vocals
St. Yves Pantalon-Mécanique: drums & percussion
with thanks to:
Max Ernst Crawfish: trumpet on ’Nobody’
Ricardo Jolie Chose: lead guitar on ‘What Happened to Delilah?’
Tracks collated by Mike Hagler in Chicago & mixed by The Baron at Château Trumfio.